What To Do When Your Sewer Backs Up

A sewer backup is probably the worst thing many folks will deal with when it comes to their plumbing. You’ll have wastewater overflowing into your tubs and floors, creating a serious headache when it comes to cleaning up, not to mention a serious health hazard! This time on the Economy Plumbing Service blog, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about sewer backups!

What is a Sewer Backup

Your home has two main lines for its plumbing, the supply line, and the drain line. The supply line brings fresh, clean water from the city into your home. The drain line is the line that takes all of the wastewater from your sinks, toilets, and drains and moves it to the city sewage lines. A sewer backup is when your sewer line doesn’t drain, and instead, the wastewater comes flowing back into your home, usually through the drains in tubs or under toilets if the seals on them are broken. This is caused because there is a serious blockage in the line.


What Causes a Sewer Backup

Causes You Can’t Control

The fact of the matter is, not everything is within your control. There are a few situations that can arise without your say so and you’ll just have to roll with it when these happen, unfortunately.

  • Flooding
  • Clog in the City Line
  • Soil Settlement

Causes You Can Control

  • Tree roots
  • Age of pipes
  • Pouring grease, oils, fats down drains
  • Poor design!

How to Spot a Sewer Backup Early

When your sewer line first starts to develop problems you’ll likely notice a few signs but you might be inclined to dismiss them as normal. But please, for your sake and ours take these signs seriously!

Slow Drains

The first sign of a problem is slow drains throughout the hose. If a single drain is slow, that points to a problem in that fixture, that can usually be cleared on your own using a hair remover, or a plunger (never a chemical cleaner!). But when the slow down seems to be hitting multiple drains, that’s a total sewer line problem.

Waste Backing Up

When wastewater from the toilet backs up into the tub or a washing machine pushes water out a toilet, you know things are a problem. A serious problem

Is it an Emergency?

Yes. If your sewer line is so backed up that waste water from your toilet is hitting other drains and sending filth and germ-filled matter into the floor of your bathroom – it’s an emergency and needs help fast. Make sure everyone stops using the plumbing in your home and place a call quick.

What to Do When The Sewer Backs Up

The first thing to do is make sure no more water is flowing to this waste line. If it’s from a faucet, turn the faucet off, close whatever valves you have or turn off the washing machine. If the water is getting close to an outlet or other electrical fixtures turn off the electricity to the area. If you know your breaker box and fuses well you can just shut those particulars off, otherwise turning off the electricity to the whole house will be a solution.

Now you can start to address the problem. You do not want to use chemical cleaners for this and there’s a few reasons for it. For one, clogs can be caused by physical things in the line that the cleaner might not break down. For two it can further eat away and damage the pipes. For three when they dont’ work and you call out a plumber to hep they could be injured by the chemical cleaner stuck in the pipe. So just don’t do it.

First, you can attempt to clear the clog by using a plunger to clear out the clog shaking it loose using the pressure. Another option is to use a snake to try and clear the clog, one that’s made for catching hair can be a great option to start clearing the line.

If the wastewater is still backing up, well, you need to call in the big guns and fast. Until a plumber comes out and fixes your drain you won’t be able to use any of the fixtures in your home. No showers, no tubs, no sinks, no toilets. Any time you do use one the water will get stuck in the drainage system and have to flow somewhere and when it does – it isn’t pretty. So call the plumber.

If Water Runs Through it Or To It, We Do It!

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